What happens if Trump loses the election but refuses to leave office

Well, they intersect at a libertarianism and anti-statism. Fred Turner also covers this weird cross-section in his book:

Except there’s not much evidence that Roger Stone was ever remotely on the left.


See also the “Californian Ideology”, which still infests the tech industry to this day.

None at all that I’ve seen. Stone was never on the left, and has been ratf*cking on behalf of Republicans since Nixon. I was answering @subextraordinaire’s question about Caputo (although he may never have shared the progressivism of the very progressive band he claims to admire).


Yeah, I was just going to reply to @gracchus that I know older libertarian boomers love the Grateful Dead. It’s just that the younger Dead Heads I’ve come across were left leaning. I also didn’t realize that Caputo was 58 (my age and boomer in birth date only); generally Trump people look older but I grudgingly have to say that I thought Caputo was younger than me by at least eight years. Sigh.


A small number would still be enough to create a very big problem.

Even if everyone in law enforcement and the military agreed it was time for Trump to go he’s got a helluva lot of heavily armed supporters ready to cause a shit-ton of chaos. We needn’t resign our country to that fate but we should be prepared for it.


I do have to say that the radicalism of the 60s counterculture was always overplayed anyway, to a large degree. A tiny fraction of the boomers were active participants to anything but a marginal or small degree, and an even smaller perctage of that were part of the political side, with the new left, antiwar movement, etc. There was just soooo much focus on the boomers and so muck ink spilled about (from their own words and from the larger culture) that it seems in hindsight that all the boomers were radical and it’s just not the case.


Kind of like how almost everyone who was alive in the 1960s likes to pretend they were fans of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the whole time even though he was at least as divisive and maligned as the Black Lives Matter movement during his own lifetime.


Absolutely. Most of the leaders in both the anti-war movement and the civil rights movement and counter-culture in general turn out to be Silents of my parents’ age (literally: in HS I worked briefly for a former member of the Chicago 7 who was the father of a classmate, and another friend’s parent was a participant in the big sit-in at Columbia). The Boomers were more followers.


All of your points about Nostradumbass are valid and I do not dispute them. What I have pointed out is how those in uniform and specifically how the military command will react to him hunkering down and refusing to leave office. …and you have been dismissive of that. You keep telling me how Marines and Secret Service may choose this or that…and I am telling you without a doubt unequivocally THAT IS NOT HOW WE WORK. You are ignoring that and interjecting your own “but what if”.

You can do that as much as you like. But I do not need to be in that discussion. If you are going to dismiss the facts I present, that’s fine, I don’t need to be here for the convo.

Is Esper the canary in a coal mine?


What I’m saying that the Secret Service and the military have never, ever been faced with a situation in which more than one person claimed to be the acting President at the same time or refused to participate in the peaceful transition of power. Not once in our nation’s history.

We can’t look to precedent (at least, no precedent in our own country) to say “this is how things work in this situation.” We can make educated guesses about what is likely to happen, but that’s it.

You have a high degree of confidence that all members of the Secret Service and Marines would immediately and unambiguously side with the new President in this situation. I very much hope you are right.


This might be a news flash…pretty much 80% of what we face as military personnel is not something we ever faced before. That is why there is training and rules in place for us to follow and complete.

Yes, we as a nation have never faced such a situation before. The military personnel I GUARANTEE have not only been advised and trained but also have gone over numerous times what to do “IF”. That is how we work.

And please note I have said all this is predicated on him losing the election and a new POTUS being sworn in on Jan 20. That is the scenario wherein he is escorted out. Now will John Roberts swear in Biden if the election is still contested? I don’t know…I cannot speak to the inner mindset of a member of the Supreme Court.


I’ve long said that the difference between cops and soldiers in the modern era is that soldiers have rules of action and engagement.

I do indeed think that the military believe that their oath is to the Constitution first and the Commander in Chief only second, and that they are indoctrinated that they must follow lawful orders. They are also trained that they do not engage domestic enemies in the US. That’s so far out of their wheelhouse that you can’t see the ship from there. In my nighmare scenario, the military sits this one out.

Non-military Federal law enforcement, plus state and local forces, I’m none too sure. They do not have the same indoctrination as the military or even the Secret Service. And they have tremendous stockpiles of military-grade armament. The APCs that roll in the streets could belong to sheriffs, state troopers, local cops, DEA, BATFE, ICE, CBP, and any number of other ostensibly civilian agencies, who may not all be on the same side. We’ve surely had firefights between different law enforcement agencies in our history, sometimes with the National Guard called out on one side or the other (by either a governor or the President).

In the long run? If the republic survives, sooner or later we’ll reach the conclusion that the progressive militarization of the police over the last couple of decades violated the 3rd Amendment. Yes, that one - the one that’s virtually never had a court case cite it.


It’s not a requirement that the President Elect be sworn in by the Chief Justice. However, it would be bad if he wasn’t.


Right, it’s only a tradition, and usually ignored in the case where the Vice President succeeds. The Presidential oath has been administered by fifteen Chief Justices, one Associate Justice, four federal judges, and two New York State judges. Plus one notary public: Calvin Coolidge was sworn in by his father, John Calvin Coolidge, at a private ceremony in Vermont.

Theodore Roosevelt was officially sworn in by John Hazel, US District Judge for the Western District of New York. There’s a persistent rumor, however, that when his train was taking on coal or water in Saratoga County, that a local justice of the peace either boarded the train and administered the oath informally, or met Roosevelt at a tavern and swore him in there. There’s a tavern in Ballston Lake that dates at least from the period that claims to be the site of his first swearing-in. (They don’t question that the oath was also administered in Buffalo, later.)

Any government officer qualified to witness oaths can administer the oath of office.

Incidentally, ‘so help me God’ is not part of the prescribed text; it is a private prayer that it has become customary for Presidents to add. In fact, until the twentieth century, the common form was for the official administer the oath to ask, ‘do you, [name], solemnly swear (affirm) that … [so help you God]?’ and for the new President to reply, ‘I do.’ Theodore Roosevelt used the form where the new President repeats the phrases of the oath back, but concluded ‘And thus I swear.’

Conspiracy theorists are fond of claiming that the President isn’t ‘really’ President if either he or the official administering the oath stumbles over the lines, but in practice, all that happens is that the oath is re-administered if there’s a complaint. Barack Obama retook the oath on 21 January 2009 for exactly that reason; John Roberts misplaced the word ‘faithfully’. Chief Justice (and former President) William Howard Taft, when swearing in Herbert Hoover, misread the oath as ‘preserve, maintain and defend the Constitution’, rather than ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution’, but did not consider the error material and did not have Hoover retake the oath.

There is also no requirement for a Bible. John Quincy Adams swore on a law book open to the Constitution. Theodore Roosevelt did not use a book. Lyndon Johnson swore on John Kennedy’s Saint Joseph Missal because nobody could find a Bible aboard Air Force One. Presidents were apparently wont to kiss the Bible at the conclusion of the swearing-in. Truman was the last President to do so. Eisenhower chose to recite a prayer instead. Conspiracy theories aside, Barack Obama did not swear on a Quran.


We really should just let the contestants fight to the death.

1 Like

I agree most people in the military probably feel this way. I am also sure that you or I could name countless examples of members of the military following unlawful orders, especially in cases when members of the military have different understandings of what the lawful course of action is.

If, for example, the Attorney General of the United States declared the election unlawful and illegitimate then we’d likely see some real shit hit the fan at all levels of society, military included.


Yes, let the nastiest er I mean best warrior win. Expect cheating, so they must wear only jockstraps, with no provision to hide weapons except in dark orifices. It’ll be a shitty match.

1 Like

Yup, pretty much how I picture it.

Of course. “Do I see Lieutenant Calley? Do I see Captain Medina? Do I see Gen’ral Kostner and all his crew?” I’m old enough to have had at least a nascent political awareness when those things happened, to say nothing of Abu Ghraib. (The first that I really became aware that politicians were … human … came when I saw my congressman throw a punch right at a Chicago cop on national television on the floor of the 1968 Democratic convention.)

But note that the atrocities happened at relatively low levels - the orders may have originated from on high, but the atrocities were not committed by an organized action of a large military unit, but by relatively few individual platoon and company commanders and the soldiers under their command. In the case of Sơn Mỹ, the soldiers who tried to stop it were denounced as traitors at the time, but eventually decorated for heroism in saving unarmed non-combatants.

In the nightmare scenario, you likely will see individual platoons, companies, maybe even battalions entering the fray on one side or another. The indoctrination that the military don’t step into American politics runs deep enough in the officer corps, though, that you’re extremely unlikely to see a whole regiment or division fighting as a unit. And the uncertainty over who’s really in charge and the confusion over conflicting orders would greatly hamper their effectiveness. Either the chain of command will be intact, and the military will be staying out of domestic politics, or else they will be fighting as an extremely well-armed but disorganized rabble.